Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homeschooling overview for 2011-2012

As spring went into summer we finished up most of our schooling for the year. But we are not totally stopping for the summer. I don't want them to forget all the great stuff they learned {and I certain don't want to start all over again at the beginning of the next school year. That can get very frustrating for both parties.  Plus I wanted them to be stronger in some areas that I saw some weakness. So each kid has certain subjects they are focusing on, or reviewing over the summer.  I am over all pleased with the way our first year of homeschooling went. Although there were moments were I cursed the fact that we don't have good public schools around here, and we can't afford a private school. We don't even have charter school options!
 I was very surprised to find that Bubu is my most challenging student. He is the one I want to ship off to another school way too often. He gets overwhelmed so easily in his frustration and melts into these crying fits that really challenge my short fuse. Some days I almost want to start laughing hysterically because it all gets so ridiculous. He makes the same mistakes over and over again {I'm talking to the extreme so that it seems as if he's doing it on purpose, just to see smoke come out my ears} and starts flailing and squirming around and slouching and putting his head on the table... he gets down right obstinate some times. I really hate teaching him in those moments. But, there are still the moments were he gets it, and he get good at it, and he's so cute and proud of himself. The moments were he listens intently as I read and asks amazing questions. Were he gets excited about what is going on. The moments were he asks a question about something and we spend a bunch of time just surfing the web, or looking in our books or brainstorming the answers. The moments were I catch him teaching his brothers how to do something he recently learned. Those are the times that I exhale and feel at peace again with our decision. If I can cling on to more of those moments and less of the other then it is all worth it. Surprisingly to me, Spike has ended up being my most enjoyable student. Such an eager learner! I thought it would be him I would have the power struggles and melt downs with, but not at all so far. In fact he is such an eager learner that I am starting in on the kindergarten reading program with him this summer instead of waiting until he starts kindergarten next year because he's already trying to teach himself to read. I think he could easily catch up with Bubu in reading!
Atticus is basically enthusiastic about learning, but does lack the focus and some of the fine motor skills to be able to keep up with Spike. I don't feel he is too far behind, but I do think it will start to be a struggle next year to keep him at grade level in some subjects. I'm going to have to find a lot of out of the box ways to teach him. I'm mostly worried about handwriting right now, he really had a super hard time controlling his pencil! He's come a long way this year with that, but is still far behind Spike. We have done a lot of pre-printing practice and will do more over the summer.
This really speaks to me! Reminds me were I want my focus to be with my own children.
I think my favorite parts about homeschooling might just have to be how close it allows us to be and how it keeps some of the negative influences at bay. How I can really focus on character building and our family principles. How we can really seize a beautiful day and make the most of it, make our own schedule. Making every day learning fun, and sneaking in learning experiences everywhere I can. :) I really, really, really, like that we don't have to rush in the morning. That my kids can stay in their pj's if they want to, or even just their underwear. ;) I mean does it get much better then that, learning in your underwear! {it's Bubu's favorite} Ha ha! 
Anyway, I am now planning for next year. I feel a bit more prepared as I have seen up close and personal what it's like being the teacher in a homeschool environment. {I knew what it was like to be the home schooled student, and now I know that was the easy part. ;) Although it didn't seem that way at the time!} I have felt very challenged, stretched thin at times, almost broken... but.  I still go on. Because sometimes the right choice {in our family} is the hardest one to make. Good things come to those who wait. Nothing good ever came easy... and on and on and on. :)

I realize this post sounds a bit negative, I'm just being real. I'm sharing the darker stuff. Some times people who homeschool seem to only talk about the good stuff, and I find that annoying. Because you know dang well that they have bad days too! But honestly not all days are bad, not even close. There are little clusters here and there and they vanish just as quickly as they appear for the most part. It's only in the rough spots that I wonder if I'm doing this out of sheer stubbornness or a love of it... I hope it's because of the love.

1 comment:

Kat said...

It doesn't sound negative to me at all. Even though my kids go to a parochial school I teach them in summer. There is an AWESOME website called superteacherworksheets.com . You can print out worksheet for math, science, reading, spelling, history, letters, numbers, all kinds of stuff. And it has all different grades too. So awesome.
Anyway, I have the boys do their worksheets a few times a week just so that they don't forget what they learned in school. Last year I even branched out further into multiplication and division (Joey hadn't started that yet) so that when Joey's class started learning that it was pretty easy for him. And get this, the boys LOVE doing their worksheets. Crazy kids.
Although the meltdowns you described happen in our house too. Mostly from Joey and Tommy. Ben has never had a meltdown over his work. It really does make me crazy, but I have started to just take five or ten minutes to cool myself down or just stop whatever it is the boys are working on to let them gather themselves. It is CRAZY how upset they get and I don't want to make it worse (which I usually would do). That never helps.
Anyway, sounds like you are doing awesome! Keep up the good work!